This time Luciano Pignataro takes the stand.
There’s a quiet land between Ravello and Amalfiwhere there are thirteen hamlets but no Commune: It’s called taramonti (between the mountains) because it has no specific name iand can only be reached from the sea. Then men built a road that rises steadily from the cement-bound hell of the Nocerino plain to the Chinunzi Pass, ferrying people from an urban Hades to a paradise with chestnuts, oaks, olives, and vines extending down to the sea, where towns out of fairy tales swish their feed in the water: Minori, Maiori, Amalfi, Atrani, and so on.
In this land, which goes from 0 to 600 meters in 8 km that are crossed by sheep, shepherds, and luxurious cars bound for Ravello, live the giant vines that walk. Vines that perhaps fled from the farmers, or were recruited for the war against Cecco Peppe (Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria).
Defended by the stony bastions rising from the sea and soils rich in material erupted from Vesuvius, the vines are unaffected by phylloxera, and, where a vine is planted, gradually spread across the entire hillside.
These vines are Tintore, which was long confused with Aglianico, and with respect to the king of Southern vines has, if possible, more bitterness, tannins, and color. And this is why Neapolitan wine merchants loved it, and transformed it into Gragnano.
Then, in the early 70s, Giuseppe Apicella, an immigrant who came home, decided to bottle the wine from Tramonti. And after him, though this is recent history, came Gigino Reale, Gaetano Bove and Alfonso Arpino.
Gigino started out with a hotel-inn that also served pizza, as is traditional in Tramonti, a town with three thousand pizzaioli who have spread across the globe. Then he started to vinify the grapes from his three hectares of vineyards, Borgo di Gete is the red he makes from Tintore, a fresh, charged wine that ages for year after year without the slightest hint of falling off. Impossible, today, to guess how many decades a bottle may last.
It’s a generous wine, to be served with foods, with flavors and aromas that are ancestral, in which the softness of the wines and native root stock vines are balanced by powerful acidity and severe tannins. Aged in barriques by Fortunato Sebastiano, slightly more than 1500 bottles are produced each year.
Not to be missed, if you want to experience the mysterious, wintery soul of the Costiera Amalfitana.
Via Cardamone, Borgo di Gete. Tel 089.856144